Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Twists

It's summer! I know that we have a few days to the Summer Solstice, but around here it feels like summer has come. School is out. The heat has come, the garden plants are growing so quickly I feel like I can see them inch up (but I think they do it at night while I'm sleeping). Heat makes me listless, but I still have the energy to let y'all know about this great bread I've made a couple of times now while it was still cool. As we gather around my kitchen table for the June bread, the bodacious Bread Baking Babes make a very friendly bread, inspired by another blogger.

For Valentine's Day, MC Farine of the blog Farine made the cutest breads and called them Morning Cuddles. Darling twists with dried fruit, nuts and oatmeal is a great way to start the day. My variation adds some buttermilk and melted butter, plus I figured out how to do the recipe when you don't have a mature sourdough starter in your fridge. The thing that is still true is that these twists have a lot of oatmeal so I love 'em and call 'em Oatmeal Twists. They are pretty filling, too, for little twists.

The first time I made them I used the original recipe except I used all plain sourdough starter for the poolish and then left out the dried fruit until I shaped them and I put grated Romano cheese in some of them instead of fruit. They were twice the size, too.

Made 'em smaller the second time around so each one is a more reasonable serving. Because I'm a dork sometimes, I forgot to buy more pecans so the second version is really cheese, nuts, dried fruits, or seeds. Still yummy! The texture seemed lighter with the active yeast and flour and water version than with the sourdough starter but both were great fresh from the oven and toasted, too. I left the pecans in the recipe given below because I liked them better with pecans. You can make them large and a bit wider and use them for sandwiches, too. The third time I made them I used raisins and currants for the dried fruit and some chopped walnuts. The twists were great but I took half the dough and made a braided loaf instead of twists and that worked, too. You are encouraged to get creative with these little breads!

Due to my days currently being over-packed I'm squishing things in here and there where I can fit as an overstuffed suitcase I I made the non-sourdough part (poolish/starter) one evening and let it sit overnight in the fridge, then made up the dough the next afternoon and let it sit overnight in the fridge, then let it rise the rest of the ways the next day, shaped and baked it in the late afternoon. Worked well, so if you have that amount of time you may want to space it out, too. At the minimum let the poolish/starter or the dough sit overnight for great flavor and shape and bake the next day.

Be sure to visit the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' sites to see their take on this versatile roll. Bet you'll be inspired to try them for yourself!

These are fun to make and fun to eat. Be a Buddy: bake this recipe by June 29th, send me an e-mail at plachman(at)sonic(dot)net. Be sure to include an attached photo of your creation so that I can add you to the round-up, plus a few sentences about your experience baking these twists.

Oatmeal Twists
based on Morning Cuddles at Farine
makes 16 twists

700 g sourdough starter (or poolish/starter of 350 g all-purpose flour mixed with 350 g water and 2 teaspoons yeast. Sit 3 hrs, stir down, put in fridge overnight, or at least 8 hours - use where recipe calls for sourdough starter.)
320 g all-purpose flour
230 g whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
115 g rolled oats, coarsely ground in a food processor
15 g salt
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
100 g pecans, chopped

Mix the flours together with the yeast, oats and salt. Stir the water, buttermilk and butter into the starter. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the starter mixture until a soft dough forms. Let sit 10 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead in additional flour if needed until dough is tacky but not sticky. Knead in the pecans. Shape into a ball and put dough ball into oiled rising bowl or container, turning dough to coat with the oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. This might take 2 hours or 6. (Also fine to cover and let sit overnight in the fridge, then let rise until doubled on the counter the next day.)

When dough has doubled, turn out onto lightly flour board. Shape into a log and cut into two pieces. Return one piece of the dough to the rising bowl and cover.

Shape the second piece of dough on the board into a log and cut into 8 pieces, each about 100 g. Cut each piece in half and shape each piece into a snake and twist two pieces together a a time or two, then place twist on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining 7 (100 g) pieces. You will have eight twists. Take the remaining large (about 800 g) piece of dough and repeat the shaping into a log, cutting into 8 pieces, cutting those in half and shaping into twists. You will finish with 16 twists set out on parchment or silicon mat covered baking sheets. Cover twists and let rise until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F when twists are almost doubled.

Uncover, glaze with buttermilk with clean pastry brush. If desired sprinkle with finely chopped pecans, or preferred seeds or with sea salt.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. If browning too rapidly, turn down the oven temperature. Turn the pans back to front and bake another 10 - 15 minutes or until breads are 180 degrees inside. Cool on a rack then serve.

Variations: When you knead in the pecans you can knead in dried fruit like dried cranberries or diced prunes, apricots or dates to make a breakfast twist. If you prefer savory you can knead in herbs and/or Parmesan cheese and/or seeds. This bread loves to have you make your own combinations, so other nuts can also be used in place of the pecans or with them. I made my second batch without any nuts, seeds, fruit or herbs and they were yummy, too.


  1. Silly me when I was little I thought things would be better because I would be older and "more in control" ... such innocence! Then I thought life would be calmer when the kids where grown ... so why is it ... you say it so well ... my days currently being over-packed I'm squishing things in here and there where I can fit as an overstuffed suitcase ;-)

    I'm always happy to twist at your kitchen table. We enjoyed these for breakfast lunch and dinner and even with our wine. Many thanks my friend.

  2. I loved these twists, easy and tasty, so a big thank you for making us/me bake them!

  3. These really look delicious. And who can resist a food you just grab and go. Perfect for breakfast.

  4. Let's do the twist!!!
    Thank you for hosting and choosing this interesting recipe.
    I've never baked with rolled oats: it's a premiere!
    Wow! Can't wait to start...

  5. This looks like breakfast to me! (When it's not so bloody hot I don't want the oven on... maybe I can bake them out on the back deck??)

  6. These twists are even better than I thought they were going to be (and I was expecting that they'd be terrific). I'll be making these again and again. Thank you, Elle!

  7. A wonderful recipe, love all the variations possible. Loved these breads, thanks for this wonderful bake experience.

  8. Anonymous10:26 AM

    I am quite new to baking and would love to try you think your could shape them and then put them in the fridge overnight then bake them?

  9. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I am quite new to bread baking...I was wondering if you could shape the dough then put it in the fridge overnight to bake the next morning.

  10. Great choice! So fun for summer and I love your variations.

  11. Tanna, It's like did we find time to work? Suitcase is feeling a bit roomier of late thank heavens. Glad to twist with you my friend. Will have to try these long and skinny with wine.

    Ilva, thank you for making 'em and for the utterly gorgeous photos, too.

    IdaBaker, they are perfect for breakfast but I like Natashaya's method of making them perfect for sandwiches, too. More about that on her blog...

    Sweet and That's It, Can't wait to see what you make. Rolled oats are one of my favorite things to add to bread dough...hope you feel that way too once you try it.

    Tanita, Wouldn't be surprised if they would bake outside when it's over 100 degrees out :) Maybe if it cools down?

    Elizabeth, always happy to suggest a new-ish bread for a fantastic baker like you. I love that you are always up for a challenge, too. Thanks for putting all the ingredients into metrics, too!

    Lien, will be 'right over' to see what you made. Bet it is wonderful!

    Anon, Yes I think you could shape them and keep them overnight, but I would let them double, then freeze them. Just bake from frozen state and add a few minutes to the baking time. Don't forget to glaze the frozen twists before baking. Let me know how that goes for you, OK?

    Natashya, Love your sandwich variation! Lots of summer possibilities with the twist :)

  12. Thank you for a great choice this month, tasty and versatile!

  13. Hello, I love it that you reinterpreted the Morning Cuddles your way. Very creative! I will try your variation this summer although probably not before June 29 unfortunately as I will be traveling and out of oven range. I adore the picture showing eight chubby twists hanging out together. Thank you so much for picking my recipe for the month of June!

  14. Anonymous4:20 PM

    Can't wait to try these. I just made the poolish so this will be on my "to do" list tomorrow!
    Thanks- Best, Sandie

  15. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Can't wait to try these. I just made the poolish so this will be on my "to do" list tomorrow!
    Thanks- Best, Sandie

  16. Morning Cuddles.... Hmmm, that's what my puppies want before breakfast. I might be more in the mood if I had these FOR breakfast LOL
    Love the way you worked the recipe!

  17. Possibilities, choices.. I'm putting my thinking cap on, it's going to happen this week! Lovely choice Elle!

  18. Anonymous10:02 AM

    I love those cute little twists, and your ideas for sweet and savory versions!
    :^) breadsong

  19. Thanks the recipe:

  20. I went sweet for my first version, next time I think I will use garlic and herbs with parmesan!

  21. I want to make these, I'm wondering how molasses would be in them? What do you think? Also, I'm looking for something not super dense, do you think that describes these?

  22. Mom24, These don't have any sugar in them but a tablespoon or two of molasses would probably be delicious. They are not super dense and with the addition of the molasses (more food for the yeasties) I imagine they might be even a bit lighter.